Dental caries (tooth decay) in children is a worldwide public health problem. The leading cause of caries is poor oral hygiene behaviours and the frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Changing oral health habits requires effective behaviour change conversations. The dental practice provides an opportunity for dental teams to explore with parents the oral health behaviours they undertake for their young children (0–5 years old). However, evidence suggests that dental teams need further support, training and resources. Therefore, “Strong Teeth” (an oral health intervention) was co-developed to help dental teams undertake these behaviour change conversations. The current paper will explore the acceptability of the “Strong Teeth” intervention with dental teams and parents of children aged 0–5 years old using multiple datasets (interviews, focus groups and dental team member diaries)
Following the delivery of the “Strong Teeth” intervention, qualitative interviews with parents and focus groups with dental team members were undertaken. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using a theoretical framework of acceptability. The self-reported dental team diaries supplemented the interviews and focus groups and were analysed using framework analysis.
Four themes were developed: (1) integration within the dental practice; (2) incorporating the Oral-B electric toothbrush; (3) facilitating discussions and demonstrations; and (4) the practicality of the Disney Magic Timer app. Overall, the “Strong Teeth” intervention was acceptable to parents and dental teams. Parents felt the Oral-B electric toothbrush was a good motivator; however, the Disney Magic Timer app received mixed feedback on how well it could be used effectively in the home setting. Findings suggest that the intervention was more acceptable as a “whole team approach” when all members of the dental practice willingly participated.
There are limited studies that use a robust process evaluation to measure the acceptability of an intervention. The use of the theoretical framework of acceptability helped identify aspects of the intervention that were positive and helped identify the interventions areas for enhancement moving forwards. Future modifications include enhanced whole team approach training to optimise acceptability to all those involved.